On the back of another round of fixtures across Europe, the names of two Arsenal loanees – Joe Willock and Matteo Guendouzi – have come under the microscope once more.
Attacking midfielder Willock was of course farmed out to Newcastle during the January window, on the back of a difficult opening half to the campaign in north London.
The 21-year-old actually managed an impressive 6 direct goal contributions across 5 Europa League group stage outings, but, when it mattered most, was confined largely to the bench by Mikel Arteta.
In turn, upon Martin Odegaard’s arrival at the Emirates, it came as little surprise to see Willock farmed out on loan.
The Gunners youth product made the move to Newcastle United, to aid Steve Bruce’s men in their battle against relegation.
And Willock has since gone on to do a fine job of exactly that.
The English youth international has added a much-needed element of forward-thinking and drive to the Magpies’ ranks in the middle of the park, as evidenced by a debut goal versus Southampton last month:
Saint-Maximin brings it down and puts it on a plate for Joe Willock to slot it home on his debut! 🙌
What a start for Newcastle! pic.twitter.com/n2nkwtAF2U
— Football on BT Sport (@btsportfootball) February 6, 2021
It was his latest display, versus Aston Villa on Friday, though, which saw many begin to take stock of just how quickly Willock appears to be developing at St. James’ Park.
The starlet, whilst still undoubtedly raw, has looked has a considerably more well-rounded midfielder of late, neat and tidy in possession, dangerous in gliding past opposing defenders, and determined on the defensive side of the ball.
Such attributes were on full display last night, as Willock went on to earn rave post-match reviews, for a superb performance in Newcastle’s 1-1 draw with Villa:
Joe Willock’s heat map against Aston Villa is a good sign for Arsenal.
With Dani Ceballos most likely being sent back to Real Madrid & Arsenal needing to spend money elsewhere this summer, Willock can return & cement himself as Arsenal’s Thomas Partey backup if he wants to do so pic.twitter.com/YvCjXZBrcI
— Harry (@RunReissRun) March 12, 2021
Willock is doing so well
— evan 》 (@afcevan) March 12, 2021
Villa were absolutely awful. We didn’t make them pay for it. Hayden and Willock excellent. All the defence did well. Absolutely nothing going forward.
— NUFC HWTL (@HwtlNufc) March 12, 2021
Willock looking impressive and having a good game vs Villa
Nothing like regular football to give young eaters a chance to stretch their legs and learn their trade
Good one Joe!
— Obez 🗨 (@obez2012) March 12, 2021
Could Willock be rewarded for his fine form with a place in Mikel Arteta’s plans for next season?
As one Arsenal youngster makes strides in the right direction, however, another continues to endure one of the rougher stretches of his fledgling career.
Matteo Guendouzi, unlike Willock, was of course granted permission to depart Arsenal last summer.
This came with the Frenchman having been frozen out by Mikel Arteta, after being accused of taunting Brighton’s stars over finances during a defeat at the Amex back in June.
Guendouzi made the move to Bundesliga outfit Hertha Berlin, for the 2020/21 campaign.
To say that his time in the German capital has since proven hit-and-miss, though, would be putting it lightly.
At one point in the season, the midfield talent had actually established himself as a key performer at the base of Hertha’s midfield, starting week-in, week-out, and even chipping in with the occasional goal:
— Sportsnet (@Sportsnet) January 2, 2021
Recent weeks, however, have proven of an altogether more testing nature for Guendouzi.
On the back of a change on the bench at the Olympiastadion, Arsenal’s midfield loanee has fallen out of favour, as Pal Dardai opts for the likes of Lucas Tousart and Sami Khedira to man Hertha’s midfield ranks, amid a tense battle against the drop.
All told, Guendouzi has managed starts in just one of Die Alte Dame’s last six Bundesliga outings, albeit with his latest absence, earlier today, having come as a result of a fitness issue.
— Hertha Berlin (@HerthaBSC_EN) March 13, 2021
The former Lorient man – who has of course seen his attitude called into question on more than one occasion in the past – will need to step up in a major way over the coming months, if he maintains hope of salvaging his career back in north London.
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|1||Manchester City FC||29||40||68|
|2||Manchester United FC||28||23||54|
|3||Leicester City FC||28||16||53|
|5||West Ham United FC||27||11||48|
|7||Tottenham Hotspur FC||27||18||45|
|9||Aston Villa FC||27||11||41|
|12||Wolverhampton Wanderers FC||28||-9||35|
|13||Crystal Palace FC||28||-17||34|
|16||Newcastle United FC||28||-17||28|
|17||Brighton & Hove Albion FC||27||-8||26|
|19||West Bromwich Albion||28||-36||18|
|20||Sheffield United FC||28||-29||14|
|Salah, Mohamed||Liverpool FC||17|
|Kane, Harry||Tottenham Hotspur FC||16|
|Fernandes, Bruno||Manchester United FC||16|
|Calvert-Lewin, Dominic||Everton FC||14|
|Son, Heung Min||Tottenham Hotspur FC||13|
|Bamford, Patrick||Leeds United||13|
|Vardy, Jamie||Leicester City FC||12|
|Gundogan, Ilkay||Manchester City FC||12|
|Wilson, Callum||Newcastle United FC||10|
|Watkins, Ollie||Aston Villa FC||10|
|Rashford, Marcus||Manchester United FC||9|
|Sterling, Raheem||Manchester City FC||9|
|Mahrez, Riyad||Manchester City FC||9|
|Barnes, Harvey||Leicester City FC||9|
|Zaha, Wilfried||Crystal Palace FC||9|
|Lacazette, Alexandre||Arsenal FC||9|
|Aubameyang, Pierre-Emerick||Arsenal FC||9|
|Maddison, James||Leicester City FC||8|
|Ings, Danny||Southampton FC||8|
|Soucek, Tomas||West Ham United FC||8|
|Player||Team||Red Cards||Yellow Cards|
|Gallagher, Conor||West Bromwich Albion||0||8|
|Maguire, Harry||Manchester United FC||0||8|
|Bellerin, Hector||Arsenal FC||0||8|
|Milivojevic, Luka||Crystal Palace FC||1||7|
|Hayden, Isaac||Newcastle United FC||0||8|
|Lundstram, John||Sheffield United FC||1||6|
|Evans, Jonny||Leicester City FC||0||7|
|Egan, John||Sheffield United FC||1||6|
|Bissouma, Yves||Brighton & Hove Albion FC||1||6|
|Grealish, Jack||Aston Villa FC||0||6|
|Tielemans, Youri||Leicester City FC||0||6|
|Shaw, Luke||Manchester United FC||0||6|
|Klich, Mateusz||Leeds United||0||6|
|Doucoure, Abdoulaye||Everton FC||0||6|
|McGinn, John||Aston Villa FC||0||6|
|Hojbjerg, Pierre||Tottenham Hotspur FC||0||6|
|Westwood, Ashley||Burnley FC||0||6|
|Xhaka, Granit||Arsenal FC||1||5|
|Romeu, Oriol||Southampton FC||0||6|
|Kante, N`Golo||Chelsea FC||0||6|
|Kane, Harry||Tottenham Hotspur FC||13|
|Fernandes, Bruno||Manchester United FC||10|
|Grealish, Jack||Aston Villa FC||10|
|De Bruyne, Kevin||Manchester City FC||10|
|Son, Heung Min||Tottenham Hotspur FC||9|
|Rashford, Marcus||Manchester United FC||7|
|Cresswell, Aaron||West Ham United FC||7|
|Digne, Lucas||Everton FC||6|
|Sterling, Raheem||Manchester City FC||5|
|Maddison, James||Leicester City FC||5|
|Ward-Prowse, James||Southampton FC||5|
|Firmino, Roberto||Liverpool FC||5|
|Foden, Phil||Manchester City FC||5|
|Werner, Timo||Chelsea FC||5|
|Neto, Pedro||Wolverhampton Wanderers FC||5|
|Shaw, Luke||Manchester United FC||5|
|Robertson, Andrew||Liverpool FC||5|
|Bamford, Patrick||Leeds United||4|